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Living in These Artists' Towns Could Inspire Your Blue Period

As If

December 03, 2001|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

California painter Thomas Kinkade has licensed his name and artistic inspiration to Taylor Woodrow Homes, a London-based housing developer building a gated community in Vallejo, Calif. The 101-house project, known as the Village, will try to re-create the artist's fantasy of family life.

Bolstered by the Kinkade endeavor, art enthusiasts are already proposing other themed developments. Here's a sampling:

Artist: Edvard Munch

Famous Work: "The Scream"

Description: Munch-burg will be designed to convey the unrelenting misery, futility and meaninglessness of existence. Traffic roundabout will go nowhere and always be gridlocked. Dung huts will serve as home and be without heating, air conditioning or indoor plumbing. But the dank hovels will be equipped with oversized kitchen appliances to accommodate those who want to stick their heads inside an oven.

Socially, the town will have much to offer fans of the Norwegian artist as well. At the town's grim cave-like entrance, a human "greeter"--much like the one at the Gap--will be posted 24/7. But instead of welcoming visitors with a smile, the greeter will scream until passing out. At least once a week, town residents will gather for a community scream.

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Artist: Andy Warhol

Famous Work: "100 Soup Cans"

Description: Soup Can Alley will be open to people who have been famous for at least 15 minutes. This requirement will be strictly enforced. In other words, even if you've been famous for 13 or 14 minutes, think about the advantages of Munch-burg.

The town will be noteworthy for its lack of noteworthiness. Residents will be required to wear "Andy" wigs at all times (pets, too!) and subsist on a strict diet of soup and party drugs. The town will comprise row houses, identical in every respect except that a 5-by-7 reprint of each owner's face will be plastered over every square inch of their abode. Also, there will be frequent Roman-style orgies.

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Artist: Grant Wood

Famous Work: "American Gothic"

Description: Inside the idyllic confines of Work Farm--the first gated agrarian community in the nation--the emphasis will be on productivity, utility and pitchforks. Work will be ceaseless and performed with a frown. The community will provide no succor to its residents whose only hope for respite will be entry into heaven.

Only stern middle-aged couples who loathe children and swear by the saying "spare the rod, spoil the child" need apply. The town motto will be: "Shouldn't you be working now?" Residents who fail to measure up to Work Farm's exacting labor, ethical and moral standards will be put in stocks at the town square and ridiculed by passersby. Nobody said life was going to be a picnic.

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Artist: Pablo Picasso

Famous Work: "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon"

Description: Just like life, Cube City will simultaneously shock, disturb and confuse its residents. This will be accomplished primarily by prohibiting squares, triangles and any other shapes, including Sister Wendy Beckett, in favor of cubes. "What the heck is that?" will be a phrase commonly heard on the streets.

The city will be divided into two parts, but it will look like three--or maybe more--depending upon your perspective. In the "Blue" district, a feeling of alienation and sadness will predominate, mostly because residents will be unable to differentiate between their toaster and their spouse. There will be a Rose district, but no one will much care about that part of town.

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Artist: Norman Rockwell

Famous Work: "The Four Freedoms"

Description: Rockwell Oaks will be a wholesome American community featuring white picket fences, good humor and tons of frisky Boy Scouts. Above all else, the town will be an urban monument to freedom. In fact, the community plans to add 29 more freedoms to the four Rockwell originally painted. Among them are the Freedom to Wear a Boy Scout Uniform to Bed, the Freedom to Believe in the Existence of Santa Claus Past the Age of 30 and the Freedom to Punch Thomas Kinkade Fans in the Nose.

Still, Rockwell Oaks will be governed by the rule of law. Most notably, residents who fall ill, become depressed or utter a discouraging word will be immediately exiled to Work Farm to see how they like them apples.

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